Adjusting Water Overall and By Zone


I’ve searched the forums and not quite been able to find out what I’m looking for, in the way of adjusting total water applied per week to my lawn. This will be, basically, if after a month or so, I find my lawn zones are always too wet, or are drying out too quickly, on a weekly/continual basis.

Some posts I’ve read seem to indicate that, at least for some schedules, there is an overall adjustment for the schedule, aka “Budget” it many/most other controllers out there. Yes, that is used in them to change the amount based on temperature and season, but could also be considered as wetter/dryer. While I know you can change the

So, what is the best way OVERALL to increase or decrease the amount of water Rachio applies per week or on average? It should /not/ involve changes to the zone specs, as they are what they are. And I can’t imagine Rachio is so conceited as to think the system will be exactly right all the time, without adjustment.


Now, if one zone stays too dry, or too wet, of course any adjust should (I would think) be made in the Zone definition. I could change the minutes in the schedule, of course, but I would think that next time I made zone or other changes, it would recalculate those minutes, eliminating my change. (No?)

The first/easiest place that comes to mind is the Nozzle inches/hour under Advanced Zone definition. Of course, as with most other values under Zone definition, I’d be lying, if I’d confirmed my actual inches/hour. So I’d have to keep a record of my original calculated values, as well as what changes I tried, and how they worked.

Another possible change might be the Crop Coefficient, changing it from the 65% for Warm Season Grass. Actually, I have Centipede grass, which from what I read has an 85% Crop Coefficient. Hmmmm, just changed one of my zones from a CC of 65% to 85%, and this did NOT change the minutes of water (or inches applies)

Okay, tried changing the Efficiency, that will certainly change it. But when I went from 70% to 80% efficiency (a 14% increase), the watering time only went down by 6%. Which I don’t understand AT ALL! :wink: In fact, if I enter a measured Nozzle Inches per hour, that would take into account efficiency, and it should have no effect on the program (only in the actual gallons of water used). Confusing, this is.

So it seems to me that the only thing you can adjust for a zone being too wet or dry is the Nozzle inches per hour, then ONE thing you can actually measure accurately using catch cups! Again, no?

This quick tuning issue has been coming up many times recently, and a number of us do agree that it could be made easier.

Until something exists, the first thing is to decide if you think it is better to increase watering time or frequency, and that depends on the root depth of the plants.
If the plants have (or are able to grow) deep roots, you want to increase watering time so the water goes deeper and promotes deeper and deeper root growth.
If the plants cannot grow deep roots like a lawn, then it is better to increase frequency.

For a quick adjustment to increase watering time I reduce the nozzle inch per hour, and for a quick adjustment to increase frequency, I increase crop coefficient.

But to your question, yes it would be nice to have a smart UI that can tune all the settings automatically with some simple feedback from the user.

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Unless I’m misunderstanding the issue, wouldn’t you control that in the watering duration section in Flex Daily?

That is a good point as far as watering time is concerned.
What I do not know (as I did not experiment with it) is if the change in watering time will be an addition to the overall water quantity, or if it will be compensated by less frequent watering.

I believe, but not confident, some of that would be controlled by your start and end parameters. For me I just have it finish before sunrise with no restriction on start time. My thought is it would add to but curious others opinions.

I personally have not noticed shorter duration/more frequent as that would not stimulate deep root growth and I’m not a fan of that scenario.

IMHO, neither works: Not changing watering duration in Schedule, nor changing nozzle inches per hour in Zones.

First, it’s kind of a sin to change watering duration, because you are abandoning all the intelligence built into the system. That’s not TOO bad, but next time you change anything on zones, etc., it will recalculate and replace your duration (I think). So that’s a Catch-22. And - it won’t work anyhow. Because Flex Daily will look at how much water each zone gains and loses each day. If, an extreme example, we water half of what Rachio comes up with, the moisture content will only go up half as much (Rachio, big brother knows, he watches, you can’t fool him!). It may not water the next day, but it will reach the point to water much more quickly, more or less in half the time, and this results in the same amount of water, just smaller amounts applied more frequently. If your lawn is too wet, or too dry, this will not change it.

I’m actually reconsidering changing Nozzle Inches per hour. While I’d hate to (if there’s ONE thing I can measure absolutely, using catch cups, it’s how much water in inches is applied for a given duration), I’m thinking it may help. Without having consequences elsewhere. If your actual Nozzle inches per hour is 0.5", and if your yard is staying to wet, you can change it to 0.6". You’re telling a little lie that you’re getting .6" of water when you’re actually getting 0.5". So, Rachio will/should reduce the time by the inverse ratio: If watering time was 90 minutes (for specifying 0.5"), it should now be 90 x 5 / 6 = 75 minutes. Each of those combinations, if true, would give you exactly the same amount of water. And that’s what, for a given zone’s properties, Rachio is trying to do. And it should have no change in frequency. Rachio /thinks/ it applied the water it wants calculated, shows the moisture increase on the graph and calculates the effect of ET and rain normally. But - it has NOT actually applied that much water, so the lawn should dry out some over time.

So, I think changing Nozzle Inches per Hour would work. I just don’t like it, because it’s lying. And you can MEASURE it. So, I’m still looking for the right combination. It probably is part of the grass properties. Probably Soil available water capacity (AWC) or Crop root zone depth (RZD). I’ll have to work on that.

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For my relatively small yard, Rachio has determined that a total of 8 hours (not counting my drip zone, which I control separately). Today, to finish by sunrise, it would have to start watering at 12:25 AM. In general, watering at night is a BAD idea, and can lead to fungus and other problems. I’m currently starting at 5 AM, and it can finish at late as 11 AM. I intend to keep any eye on the schedule for days it wants to water ALL the zones, and the day before, manually water my longest time zone, which should delay watering of that zone and reducing the time.

The start time, as you define as starting early morning, is dependent on your nighttime temperatures.

Really? Could you give me more information or a reference? I’ve always just heard that 1) It’s best to complete watering by about 10AM, and 2) Watering a night can cause mildew or other bad stuff. I’m sure that varies with climate (and therefore temperature) but it would be good to know.